Home Prophets Nahum: a reminder to the powerful on repentance

Nahum: a reminder to the powerful on repentance

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By Pr Isaiah White

There was a time in Nahum’s reign when God, through the prophet Jonah, warned the Assyrians about destruction. God sent Jonah who unwillingly preached the message of repentance to the Ninevites.

The then king was wise and called for national repentance, heeding the message of a foreign prophet, Jonah. The people repented, and from that point on, they thrived.

Assyria did not forever repent. About 100 years later, they were back to their old idolatry habits of punishing Israel and Judah with cruel barbarity.

They were ruthless in their treatment of their enemies, destroying property, burying and skinning people alive and impaling them on poles.

Even though Assyria had reached the pinnacle of its economic and military power, Nahum predicted that God would completely destroy Nineveh.

It would appear unlikely to Nahum’s Judean audience that such a powerful nation could suffer the devastation he described.

The message of Nahum to Nineveh is the same message to modern world powers and powerful individuals. The Lord will break all of them down if they forget their repentance and revival.

God’s character
Prophet Nahum introduces the character of God in these words: “God is jealous, and the Lord avenges; The Lord avenges and is furious.

“The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies; The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked.

“The Lord has His way In the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.

“He rebukes the sea and makes it dry, and dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel wither, and the flower of Lebanon wilts.

“The mountains quake before Him, the hills melt, and the earth heaves at His presence, yes, the world and all who dwell in it.

“Who can stand before His indignation? And who can endure the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him.

“The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him” (Nahum1:2-7).

Nahum emphasises the character of God as he reminds the backslidden Assyrians who had fallen away from the repentance that was invoked by the former king after heeding the message of Jonah.

God is jealous, slow to anger, great in power, wrathful, and yet He is good.

God sent Jonah to preach the message of repentance to the Ninevites. (Source/Crosswalak.com)

God is jealous
This means that God will not share His glory with other wanna-be gods in form of idols and all sorts of imposters. God will not entertain worshippers who accommodate other authorities in their lives.

He has a holy commitment to His honour and glory. That commitment cannot be compromised by Himself and He will not entertain anyone compromising it.

Because God is love, love manifests in jealousy and being protective.

Slow to Anger
The prophet reminds all sinners, including us reading this today, that God is slow to anger.

We worship a God who is not reactional, but one who is slow to anger. God gets angry because anger is not a sinful emotion.

“Slow to anger,” is not about speed, but how much offense God takes in before reacting.

We get angry when we do not get our way or understand, but God is always in control and He does not react. This is a good thing for sinners. God not reacting like human beings do, favours us.

However, it is dangerous since the patience of God means He gets offended way too many times, but He goes slow to anger.

Great in power
The Assyrians were the most powerful then, but the prophet reminded them that God was more powerful. Prominent sinners of our modern times must understand that they are not as powerful as God.

If they do not believe and repent, no power will save them from the wrath of God.

No power will defy the power of God. So, no sinner should depend on any other power and assume safety.

God is wrathful
The wrath of God is not an emotional reaction, and neither is it a feeling.

The wrath of God is a standard attitude towards sin. Sinners are warned against sin for the wrath of God will consume them who insist on sin and sinning.

Nahum reminds all sinners that the wrath of God is directed to all sinfulness and unrepentance.

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